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Pre-reading research:

Mary Shelley
Frankenstein

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MARY SHELLEY

When was she born?

When did she die?

Who was her father?

What was his occupation?

Who was her mother?

What is Mary Shelleys mother still known for?

How and when did Mary Shelleys mother die?

Who did Mary Shelley marry?

How old was Mary Shelley when she eloped with her lover?

Why did the couple have to elope?

Where did they elope to and who did they live near?

Her husband was an important figure in his own right. Why?

How many children did the couple have?

Mary Shelley had a dream shortly after the death of her first child. What was it about?

How did her husband die? How old was he?

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THE NOVEL
What genre of novel is Frankenstein?

List three other examples of novels written in this genre.

Frankenstein is written in the epistolary form. What does this mean?

Frankensteins subtitle is The Modern Prometheus. Who was Prometheus?

Why do you think Mary Shelley used this as a subtitle?

How old was Mary Shelley when she began writing Frankenstein? How old was she when
she completed it?

Why did Mary Shelley originally begin writing Frankenstein?

List some of the main concerns of the Romantic literary circle in the early 19 th century.

Who did many people think had written Frankenstein when it was first published?

What is the name of the narrator of the novel?

SOCIAL BACKGROUND TO FRANKENSTEIN


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Why are the experiments Dr. James Lind did on frogs important to the novel?

How was Mary Shelley directly linked to Dr. Lind?

What status did women have during the time Mary Shelley wrote her novel?

Humphrey Davy was an influential and radical scientist at the time. What kind of
experiments did he conduct and what did he believe that chemistry would enable?

USEFUL WEBSITES

As well as using search engines such as www.google.co.uk, try


looking at the following websites for help with locating the
answers:

www.bbc.co.uk/arts/books/author/shelley

www.stockportmbc.gov.uk/6thform/shelley

www.4iq.com/franklinks

www.topgrades.co.uk/frankenstein/

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MARY SHELLEY

When was she born?


30th August 1797

When did she die?


1st February 1851

Who was her father?


William Godwin

What was his occupation?


He was a philosopher and novelist.

Who was her mother?


Mary Wollstonecraft

What is Mary Shelleys mother still known for?


She was a pioneering feminist and wrote A Vindication of the Rights of Women.

How and when did Mary Shelleys mother die?


Puerperal fever 10 days after Mary Shelleys birth.

Who did Mary Shelley marry?


Percy Bysshe Shelley

How old was Mary Shelley when she eloped with her lover?
16

Why did the couple have to elope?


Percy Bysshe Shelley was already married and William Godwin did approve of his
daughters choice of suitor.
Where did they elope to and who did they live near?
They originally moved to the Continent before returning to England briefly. When
they moved back to the Continent they were neighbours with Lord Byron, the poet.
Her husband was an important figure in his own right. Why?
He was a member of the Romantic movement in literary circles, writing and publishing
many poems.
How many children did the couple have?
Four but only one survived beyond infancy.

Mary Shelley had a dream shortly after the death of her first child. What was it about?
She dreamt that she brought the baby back to life by placing her close to the
warmth of a fire.
How did her husband die? How old was he?
He drowned in a sailing accident in 1822 aged 30.

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THE NOVEL
What genre of novel is Frankenstein?
Gothic

List three other examples of novels written in this genre.


Dracula
The Monk
Vathek
Frankenstein is written in the epistolary form. What does this mean?
The novel is entirely composed of a series of letters / correspondence.

Frankensteins subtitle is The Modern Prometheus. Who was Prometheus?


According to Greek myth: a Titan who stole the fire of life from Olympus.
According to Roman myth: a character who creates and manipulates men into life.

Why do you think Mary Shelley used this as a subtitle?


Due to the similarities between Prometheus as creator and shaper of life and Victor
Frankensteins ambitions.

How old was Mary Shelley when she began writing Frankenstein? How old was she when
she completed it?
She was 18 when she began writing the novel and 20 when it was finally published.

Why did Mary Shelley originally begin writing Frankenstein?


As part of a ghost story competition Lord Byron had set his friends.

List some of the main concerns of the Romantic literary circle in the early 19 th century.
The importance of the individual.
Using art and literature to express ones experiences.
The importance of imagination as opposed to fact or reason.
Nature as evidence of Gods work.
Who did many people think had written Frankenstein when it was first published?
Percy Bysshe Shelley.

What is the name of the narrator of the novel?


Robert Walton

SOCIAL BACKGROUND TO FRANKENSTEIN


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Why are the experiments Dr. James Lind did on frogs important to the novel?
He charged dead frogs with electric currents, making them appear to be alive because
they jumped.

How was Mary Shelley directly linked to Dr. Lind?


He taught her husband when he was a student.

What status did women have during the time Mary Shelley wrote her novel?
A woman was regarded as the property of her father until she married and then
belonged to her husband.

Humphrey Davy was an influential and radical scientist at the time. What kind of
experiments did he conduct and what did he believe that chemistry would enable?
Davy conducted many experiments using electricity. He believed that chemistry would
enable scientists to discover the key to human life.

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